Rocky Mountain Power’s Integrated Resource Plan outlines replacement of coal with renewables

Published on November 21, 2017 by Kevin Randolph

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Rocky Mountain Power recently submitted to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which includes the retirement of coal plants and new generation from wind and solar over the next 20 years.

The company also plans to replace some of its retiring coal generation with improved efficiency, two new natural gas facilities and wholesale power purchases.

The IRP calls for the retirement 3,500 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generation. It also includes 1,959 MW of new wind resources, 905 MW of upgraded or “repowered” wind resources and 1,040 MW of new solar generation through 2036.

Rocky Mountain plans to use a new a new 140-mile, 500-kilovolt transmission line in Wyoming to distribute the energy from the new wind facilities and to relieve congestion on the company’s transmission system.

Incremental energy-efficiency resources, such as load control programs, are expected to provide a 2,077 MW reduction in energy use, which is enough to meet 88 percent of projected load growth through 2026.

Rocky Mountain’s planned natural gas additions include a 200-MW frame simple cycle combustion turbine in 2029 and a 436-MW combined combustion turbine in 2030.

The PUC acknowledged Rocky Mountain’s IRP, indicating that the company has fulfilled its long-range planning obligations. Regulated utilities must file an updated IRP with the Idaho PUC every two years.

The Commission will accept written comments on Rocky Mountain Power’s IRP through Jan. 12, 2018.